Date of Award/Publication

5-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education

Abstract

This study evaluated how test readability affects results of a New York State Living Environment (Biology) Regents examination. In an effort to determine what percentage of middle school students might struggle with such an exam because of a lack of sufficient English/Language Arts (ELA) abilities instead of a just a lack of science knowledge, two versions of a section of a Regents exam were administered to six 8th- grade classes at a suburban school. Readability of the exam was altered for one group by rewording questions and multiple-choice answers; scientific content and vocabulary remained unaltered for all. In all classes, students given the "ELA-friendly" version of the exam scored several points higher on average than the students with the unaltered version, suggesting that students with strong biology abilities may still fail the exam if their reading skills are not equally strong.

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